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The Italian winemaker who made the Hitler-themed wine called it 'a nice joke'

An Italian winemaker defended the controversial figures on the labels of its 'historical' bottles, which include Adolf Hitler.

VICE News says that the patriarch of the winery Vini Lunardelli in northeastern Italy has said before that the collection is not meant to send a "political" message.

But the brand's heir apparent, Andrea Lunardelli, plans to end the line by early next year, when he takes over from his father, Vini, because he's tired of the bottles causing too much trouble.

Since 1995, the troublesome line has been made, and it also has figures of dictators like Francisco Franco and Joseph Stalin. It is sold in 50 stores across Italy and on the winery's website, where people can make their own "collective" bottles with other Nazi leaders and slogans like "Blut und Ehre" and "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer."

"Unfortunately, the most requested label in the "historical" line is Hitler," Lunardelli told VICE. "This is especially true for Germans, but it's also true for many British, Nordic, French, and Russians." "No Italian, though, wants Hitler."

Still, in his statement, he continued to defend the bottles. "Whoever buys [the Hitler wine] is a collector, remembers history, or wants nationalism against the current policies of multinationals... not against Jews."

"On top of that, Hitler didn't drink, so we can even say that alcohol and Hitler are a funny joke," he said.
Hitler winesA shop in the center of Rome shows bottles of wine with pictures of Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin and Stalin.Corbis via Getty Images

The winemaker insists that the wine bottles are not “political,” but instead “historical.”
Corbis via Getty Images

In Germany and Austria, which have strict laws against praising Nazism, the bottles are against the law.

Some foreign tourists also don't like the bottles very much.

"The store worker said that Germans buy these wines a lot, and it's clear that they are very popular there," Austrian Dagmar Millesi told Heute in July. "The saleswoman even laughed at how angry I was... No one is mad about it, and no one stops it... I didn't think it was real."

In the meantime, Jewish advocacy groups, like the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who is in charge of global social action, sent statements to VICE condemning the winemaker. "When people buy bottles like that, they're going home to drink to what Hitler stood for, and that's wrong," he told the outlet.

Bottles of wine with stickers showing pictures of dictators as Adolf Hitler, Mussolini or il Duce are exhibited in a shop window, on March 26, 2014 in Rome.
“When people buy bottles like that, they’re going home to toast what Hitler stood for and that’s outrageous,” the director of global social action for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre told VICE.
AFP via Getty Images

Jewish leaders and others were angry in July when Hitler's personalized watch, which had his initials and a swastika symbol engraved on it, sold at auction for $1.1 million. Critics were sure that the clock didn't have much or any historical value.


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